The ongoing crisis and war in Ukraine threatens to pull the world into a disastrous nuclear confrontation. Disinformation, lies, and propaganda from the US and other western media are aimed at confusing millions of people inside the US and around the world to view Russia as the aggressor, while hiding the US role in the evolution of this conflict. One major example of this manipulation is that western media has not been honest about the massive role that the US played in facilitating a 2014 coup in Ukraine that overthrew the country’s democratically elected president, and funneled support to neo-Nazi forces who were favorable to US/EU interests, helping them rise to power in Ukraine.
As 2021 comes to an end, and the U.S. approaches the one-million mark of American lives lost to Covid-19, I would think holiday celebrations should include more somber notes than usual. Instead of seeing street behavior that would acknowledge grieving over 800,000 people in the U.S. who have died of Covid-19, we witness the convulsions for survival in a society and nation that is imploding as the wealth gap stretches far beyond our imaginations. In a nation inundated with death, whether from school shootings, the up-tick in crime rampages, fentanyl overdoses, alongside Covid-19 deaths, those who have passed may or may not have received the deserved attention due to their lives and legacies.
This is the first installment of the series, "Reclaiming History from the Revisionists". In this episode we take a closer look at an often suppressed aspect of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many throughout mainstream US society do they best, year after year, to suppress the revolutionary and radical aspects of MLK. They don't want youth to know why the United States government vilified and targeted this man. The do this, in part, to prevent others from following in the enormous footsteps of this social justice giant. We must do our part to expose this often untaught history to as many as we can, especially the youth. A brighter and better future depend on it.
It is January, and in the U.S. this means it is time for the annual ritual of revisiting the white-washed, de-radicalized, pro- “American” M.L. King fairytale as part of the official celebration of King’s birthday. In the official story, Dr. King was not the creation of the movement that was fighting for the democratic and human rights of Black people. No, it was Dr. King who created the movement, according to the colonial white elite and the neocolonial Black misleadership. In this story, the objectives of the movement were not for radical social transformation and Black self-determination but the redemption of the U.S. settler-colonial nation/state and the quiet integration of Black people into the state. In other words, to complete the establishment of a “more perfect nation,” as Obama would put it.
We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day not only to commemorate King’s historic role in overcoming racism and other injustice, but because his work and vision remain relevant. Today’s persistent racism in policing, health care, housing, and elsewhere, and attacks on voting rights — particularly for Black Americans — show that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not just about the past or the South. King got arrested in Alabama. He marched in Chicago. He spoke truth to power in Washington. He worked with countless activists and ordinary people to take action that transformed the Jim Crow South and impacted this whole country. But his outlook went well beyond our borders. Martin Luther King was an internationalist.
In June of last year, I wrote a piece about the call-and-response between movements for Black liberation in the United States and elsewhere, focusing on the upheavals that happened in Sudan in late 2018, and of course the protests that erupted in Minnesota and spread across the country after the murder of George Floyd in May of last year. In this piece, I encouraged all of us to refuse the enclosures of hemisphere, market, nation and language, to embrace urgency and refuse to concede to the divisions presented by nation, market and geography. This piece focused on the activation of struggles, and less so on the reality that each movement for liberation was met with a deepening repression and political conservatism.
Gloria Watkins/bell hooks Presente! Here we go again. Another passing of an intellectual giant, a Black revolutionary love warrior and fugitive from an academy that doesn't love us. After nearly two years of relentless premature deaths, we lose four comrades in six or seven days (Julius Scott, Greg Tate, Tyler Stovall, and now bell hooks), all in their 60s. Too much. I discovered bell hooks in 1981, when I read Ain't I a Woman in college and realized that we can't claim to be radical without being feminists, and as Barbara Smith told us, feminism is not white-owned. bell refused to be disciplined by the academy, living life on her terms and writing for a much larger audience when it wasn't in vogue.
The fight to end racial disparities that continue to blight the British education system has been energised by the Black Lives Matter movement, with a growing number of campaign groups joining the push to bring about real change in UK schools. Grassroots organizations such as No More Exclusions (NME) are aiming to end exclusions that disproportionately impact Black boys, while the Black Curriculum is leading the fight to make Black history mandatory on the UK curriculum. And the fact it has already helped to do so in Wales suggests things may finally be changing. But this is not a new fight. Decades before these groups were formed, the Black Education Movement (BEM) – a radical community collective of the 1960s and 1970s – took on the establishment and fought for equality in the schools system.
Glen Ford, who died in the summer of 2021, was one of the country’s most insightful political commentators and radical journalists. He appeared several times on this show. He spoke for the marginalized and excoriated the elites. Glen was the co-publisher of the radical Black Commentator. He co-founded Black Agenda Report with Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley in 2006. Glen repeatedly called out the Black political elites, exposing for example New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s close ties with right-wing organizations such as the Manhattan Institute and the Bradley Foundation and Booker’s advocacy of neoliberalism, austerity programs, school privatization, and other initiatives that are at the forefront of the war on the poor, especially poor Blacks.
Saturday morning, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) got word the neoliberal, right-wing Colombian state was deploying its military into the predominantly Afro-Colombian city of Calí. To top it off, the internet was not working. That prompted us to put out an alert on Twitter. Later in the day, we heard from our folks that the internet appeared to be up and running again. But we remain vigilant because the national government had deployed the military to Calí and other cities after issuing a decree on Friday forcing governors and mayors to cooperate with the militarized response to the national strike. This move came after a month of unrest and severe state repression sparked by opposition to the government’s attempt to impose an austerity plan that would have transferred the economic crisis created by neoliberalism onto the backs of the working class.
On Sunday, March 28, 2021, at 3:04 p.m., our brother, uncle, cousin, comrade and friend, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, joined the ancestors. For a week, he lay barely conscious in a Los Angeles hospital as he struggled to extend his life after suffering a massive stroke in California’s gulag known as Lancaster. Chip’s strength and dedication to life remained intact as he defied those doctors who said he would not make it through the night in the hours after his initial arrival at the hospital. A stalwart soldier, he fought until his very last breath. Chip died as he had lived: fighting. A Service is being planned which may be in a month or so due to COVID, followed by a memorial. We want to also thank the many thousands who put their voices together to free Brother Chip.
Since its founding in 1920 as Negro History and Literature Week, Black History Month has served as an “annual celebration of achievements by ‘African Americans’ and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.” Many of us share fond (and some unpleasant) memories of the yearly church programs, school assemblies, and essay contests all organized around that shared sense of identity and history of perseverance. But as critical and principled Africans that know what’s happenin’, the time has passed for us to engage with what this month has come to represent. We can look as recently as the liberalizing of “Black Lives Matter” to see an example of how Black political agendas can be stolen and repurposed.
The demand to defund the police has become a central narrative responding to the graphic killing of Black people. Black organizers must now discuss if this strategy can move us closer to community control of public safety and unpoliced Black neighborhoods. The defund demand has a number of important branches but at its root it is a call to mobilize community energy towards winning votes at local budget hearings. This effort is not just about the vote but reflects a firm belief in U.S. democracy which at this exact moment may be the most mistaken political stance possible. During the Jan. 6th meeting at the U.S. Capitol we witnessed a show of strength that could not have happened without deep police collaboration.
The global economic crisis of neoliberal capitalism—exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—has exposed the ethical, moral and political contradictions of the liberal interpretation of human rights that contends these rights can be viewed separately from the political economy, global structures and power relationships. Operating from the false premise that human rights are objective and politically neutral, neoliberals began weaponizing the framework in the 1990s as an instrument that rationalized naked imperialist interventions. Humanitarian interventionism and the “responsibility to protect” became the contemporary white-supremacist expression of the “white man’s burden” that involved “saving” natives in the global South from their autocratic rulers.